It was Sebastian Vettel who took the early lead in 2018 Formula One Championship ousting defending champion Lewis Hamilton in the first race of the season in Australia. The race at Albert Park saw Ferrari play strategy and luck to stay ahead of Lewis Hamilton’s lightning fast Mercedes. The turning point came with a mid-race safety car gave Vettel the chance to make a move pole-sitter and early leader Hamilton just before the races’ half-way point. A tight battle ensued between the two with the Ferrari driver ultimately coming out on top. At the outset of the race with the Mercedes’ consistent pace, Hamilton was able to pull out a more than agreeable four-second gap ahead of the Ferrari duo of Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel.
In fact, for most of the race, it was the Ice-man running ahead of Vettel until he dived into the pits on lap 19 to switch to a pair of soft-tyres. However, for the Rosso brigade, the turning point came in under the Virtual Safety car as the second Haas car of Romain Grosjean started facing issues. Ferrari kept Vettel out on his starting Ultrasoft tyres, angling to either move him onto Supersofts for the second stint or in case of a Safety Car. Earlier Kevin Magnussen’s car also retired with similar issues after the driver had a dream start from P4.
For the German in the Ferrari, it was two-for-two at the Ferrari kept Vettel out on his starting Ultrasoft tyres, angling to either move him onto Supersofts for the second stint or in case of a Safety Car. Meanwhile in P3 Raikkonen on the Softs, held off Aussie home-favourite Daniel Ricciardo in the closes stages to secure a double-podium finish Ferrari,While Ricciardo was able to pick up the fastest lap of the race, he fell short of becoming the first Australian to finish in the top three on home ground in the F1 era, taking fourth place at the flag.
1. Sebastian Vettel GER Scuderia Ferrari 58 laps, 1hr 29m 33.283s
2. Lewis Hamilton GBR Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport +5.036s
3. Kimi Raikkonen FIN Scuderia Ferrari +6.309s
4. Daniel Ricciardo AUS Aston Martin Red Bull Racing +7.069s
5. Fernando Alonso ESP McLaren F1 Team +27.886s
6. Max Verstappen NED Aston Martin Red Bull Racing +28.945s
7. Nico Hulkenberg GER Renault Sport Formula One Team +32.671s
8. Valtteri Bottas FIN Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport +34.339s
9. Stoffel Vandoorne BEL McLaren F1 Team +34.921s
10. Carlos Sainz Jr. ESP Renault Sport Formula One Team +45.722s
11. Sergio Perez MEX Sahara Force India F1 Team +46.817s
12. Esteban Ocon FRA Sahara Force India F1 Team +1m 00.278s
13. Charles Leclerc MON Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team +1m 15.759s